November 11, 2013

Cold Creek - Fall Stocking

A view of the town of Cold Creek in the distance
(a little dusting of snow on Willow Peak in the Spring Mountains)
I had received a few inquiries on the stocking of the pond at Cold Creek – my Veterans Day visit confirmed it is so.  An email from my friend Mitch this morning also said it occurred two weeks ago.  Chan will be smiling because I didn’t jump the gun this year.

Speaking of Veterans Day, I want to personally thank all the men and women who have served in the armed forces.  The sacrifices they make to serve our country and keep us safe and free are beyond the imagination of most of us.  I thank God for those who serve, and pray they and their loved ones are blessed by the Lord.
First light of the day on glass-smooth water
First trout of the day
(5 caught in less than 1 hour of fishing)
So, this morning I ventured up there arriving before 7:30 AM; the sun had just begun to crest the Spring Mountains. Although I was the first to fish it this morning, there was a large group of young men and women who were camping below the pond spillway. They were raucous as they were waking up and preparing breakfast. It wasn’t long before a few emerged on the pond and began fishing.

For the record, it was warm, no wind, and I had a blast fishing my 6-foot, 4-weight rod with a Type II full-sink line using a size 14 Prince and a size 16 black, bead-headed nymph.  Both caught several trout, largest being maybe 11 inches.

For the most part the young men were flailing the water. One of them had brought a fly rod, but from the looks of things he had never been instructed as to its use. After about 20 or 30 minutes a white sedan arrived and a father and daughter emerged from the car. The father/daughter duo was fishing small flies on spinning rods equipped with bobbers of sorts. The dad, who told me his name was Brett, caught five that I could see, and his daughter, Brenna, caught at least two. They were having a grand time, despite the vulgarity and crassness swirling between the young men in the group. I found it somewhat amusing that none of those guys ever caught a fish while I was there, and that young Brenna had out-fished all of them!

By about 8:15 AM I was ready to head home before my daughter, Emily, would wake up and blurt out “Daddy!” But I noticed the young man with the fly rod was at it again. I was compelled to offer a little assistance and a very short casting lesson. He accepted the offer and the first thing I noticed was he had his fly (a large size 12 Caddis dry fly) attached to his line via three feet of braided fly line backing using a knot that I couldn't begin to describe. I didn’t have a spare leader, but quickly cut it all off anyway, tying a perfection loop on the end of his fly line. Then I tied a makeshift leader with a 2x butt and a 5x tippet (each 3 feet long) and finished with a perfection loop on the 2x. I showed him how to connect the loop-to-loop, and then I cut off my size 16 black nymph with gold ribbing and a bead head and tied it on the terminal rend of his 5x tippet. I cast his rod a few times demonstrating the benefits of not letting the tip dip low in the forward and backward casts, how to time the power strokes as the line lengthened, and how to use shorter strips of line as he retrieved the small nymph. If it weren’t for my need to get home by 9:00 AM I would have stayed longer to work with the young man. But, I’m such a poor teacher it might not have mattered. 

By the way, for newer readers who have yet to "test the waters" of fly fishing, read this beginners guide blog... it might be helpful and encouraging.  If you need additional help don't be afraid to post a question or two.

It was a fine morning, all in all.  The young campers weren't excessively bothersome, and it is an awfully small public pond after all.  I think what I enjoyed most, though, was talking with Brett; it was the best part of the morning. Watching a loving father spend time with his daughter, teaching her about fishing and nature in general… it warmed my heart. I hope when Emily is old enough to come along with me that I can be as patient and instructive as Brett was with Brenna.
Dad (Brett) and daughter (Brenna) enjoying the fishing and their company
 
Brett releasing Brenna's trout (she caught 2)

Feral horses coming in for an early morning drink

Wild horses with Trout Truck in background

Young man learning how to fly cast

Feral horses and their excrement - hazards of the road to Cold Creek

12 comments:

Chan said...

Fisherdad,

You are correct. I was smiling. I was waiting for your yearly "jump-the-gun" trip but you were patient this year.

I have been super busy so I haven't had as much of a chance to go to Cold Creek. I will at some point try the Santa Clara for my annual snow day fishing. I will let you know how it goes!

Chan

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark.......I did
take some fly fishing lessons in Florida and would love to fish with my brother-in-law, someday !!

Jeannie

FisherDad said...

Chan --

The water level seemed lower than usual. It was below the lower outlet pipe and the inlet stream was less than usual, even for winter. Not sure if it is more “seasonal” than usual or if the pond channel is obstructed somewhere upstream. We’ll see what the winter/spring brings forth.

-- Mark

FisherDad said...

Jeannie –

Your brother-in-law (or… sister-in-law’s husband) would love to fish with you. Who knows, maybe we can fish Vermont’s historic Battenkill River someday! Check this out: http://www.battenkillangler.com/

-- Mark

Anonymous said...

Mark,
Great post and great photos and thank you for the kind compliments. It was a real pleasure meeting you this morning. What you saw this morning is what (in my opinion) fishing is all about! My only regret is that those "raucous youth" gave Brenna more of an education than I wanted her to get! We had a great time nonetheless. Thanks for the post to the guide for getting outfitted for fly fishing. I'll definitely have to give it a try sometime. Maybe before long I can be posting photos of 20 inch rainbows caught at Sunnyside too! Hopefully our paths will cross again someday!

Brett

FisherDad said...

Brett –

Thank you for the comments. Of my 5 boys, only 2 showed much interest in fishing, and that was probably because they knew it was an interest of mine… they recognized it as a means to an enhanced relationship with dad, so to speak. When traveling with your kids, the best part is the captive time in the car or truck when they can’t really avoid conversation.

I can’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to handle trips like these. And I am cautious to recognize how blessed we are to be able to do so. This blog post on a chance encounter with another father/daughter duo drives home that point: http://www.fisherdad.com/2009/03/new-fly-rod-on-cold-creek.html .

Yes, I too hope we meet again.

-- Mark

Jeff Smith said...

Mark, do you know anything about the depth of Cold Creek? It seems shallow at the edges, just wondering how much it deepens towards the center.

I went to Cold Creek yesterday (Friday) arriving around 8:30am. There was one other person already fishing. I tried a green woolly bugger for about 30 minutes with no luck.

I switched to a prince nymph with an indicator sitting around 2' below the surface, I got a couple bites but didn't end up catching anything during the remaining 2 hours I stayed.

Two other groups arrived around 9am. Everyone was fishing powerbait and they seemed to be catching fish.

I enjoy reading your reports! Your blog is what caused me to end up trying cold creek and wayne kirch!

FisherDad said...

Jeff –

The pond is about 3-4 feet deep. In November 2006 it was dry and I got a good look at its construction… it is very shallow (see http://www.fisherdad.com/2006/11/cold-creek-clark-co-nv.html). It does freeze over the winter, but I doubt the ice gets more than 12 inches thick, and we do know that once the ice comes off in late February or so the trout do survive.

As to your fly selection, this pond is managed as a put-and-take urban fishery; trout rarely survive the summer due to the low oxygenation and high water temp (not enough depth for all the trout to escape the heat). The few that do are in poor shape in the fall. I’ve never seen a trout over 12 inches, with the typical size being 9-11 inches. Being smaller hatchery trout they are not likely to get their mouths all the way around a Wooly Bugger, and at most you might feel a false strike as they bite at it without getting the hook shank into their mouths. Furthermore, being fed pellets in the hatchery and the absence of baitfish and large nymphs in the pond may contribute to their inability to recognize the larger fly patterns as food they should attack (speculation on my part).

Much better for Cold Creek is for you to stick with nymphs in sizes 14-18. As to method, I have seen others fish off droppers or strike indicators, but I have always believed that some swimming action is useful to attract the fish to your fly, as well as setting the hook. Do you have a sinking or sink-tip line? If so, try that and use short strips as you retrieve the fly, but not before counting from 5-10 in order for your fly to reach the proper depth; if you begin retrieving immediately after the cast the line will “plane” on the water and the fly won’t reach any meaningful depth (sinking lines have different sink rates, thus the need for different wait periods). Also, what length and weight rod are you using (I’m curious)? Anyway, save the Wooly Buggers for Kirch.

Hope that was helpful. Let me know how that goes for you.

All the best.

-- Mark

Jeff Smith said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the info and advice. Makes sense on the woolly bugger. I am still pretty new to fly fishing and learning how to fish nymphs and other "wet flies".

I do have a sink tip line, but I haven't tried it yet at Cold Creek. I will give that a try with your technique and report back.

I was using a 5wt 9' rod. I have only a 6wt 9' and a 5wt 9' (for use as a backup if the 6wt breaks on a trip).

Thanks again for the tips!

FisherDad said...

Jeff, for Cold Creek pond I'd definitely try short, choppy retrieves with the sink-tip using a 14 or 16 nymph; be sure to give the fly a chance to sink, and maybe use a bead head for extra weight. I do think the dropper/indicator technique would be great on a stream or river, and sometimes on still water, but not so much on the pond at Cold Creek. Try it again and let me know how it works.

Jeff Smith said...

Hi Mark,

I headed up to Cold Creek yesterday, tried your suggestions, and caught my first fish ever at Cold Creek (across about four trips now!).

I used a sink tip line with a #16 copper john bead head. I let it sink, stripped it in slowly, and it worked great. I arrived around 11:30am and fished for about two hours, catching two trout and having a bunch more hits with a few LDRs.

Thanks for the tips!

FisherDad said...

Jeff –

Awesome news! So happy the tips helped. I’ve written before that the fun of fly fishing is learning by doing; exploring different rods, lines, leaders, flies, casts, retrieves, etc. Always happy to provide tips and suggestions, but never take them too verbatim. If something doesn’t work, make adjustments until it does.

That said, it does feel good when a suggestion works out, doesn’t it…

All the best!

-- Mark